Gurbaxish Kohli, VP of FHRAI (The Federation of Hotels & Restaurants Association of India), and president of HRAWI (Hotels and Restaurants Association of India), said that some of the OTAs have become predatory in their actions when it comes to deciding upon the daily room tariffs of hotels, which impacts the hoteliers’ business negatively.
“The OTA business which started on the lines of traditional travel agent model, where a commission was levied to the travel agent for every visitor brought to the hotels, some of the players in this business have become market predators. This was recognised when both member and non-member hoteliers started approaching us in this regard. We have also spoken to them and they were looking positive as well, but then there was a stalemate for which we took our own recourse, and it will get resolved because we believe there must always be an amicable way of settlement. They should know that the hotels can survive without them, they cannot survive without the hotels. Our aim is to provide a win-win situation for everybody in the business.”
When asked about the impact of GST on the hospitality business, he said that they had approached the government citing haphazard implementation. With a range of slabs of taxes, the hospitality industry itself has two slabs of GST, reducing the GST has not affected anything but brought down the revenue of the government. The earlier 12 per cent VAT is now reduced to five per cent GST which is going to be a deficit for the government.”
About the impact of the plastic ban in certain states, Kohli said that they support the initiative taken by the government but what they implore the government is to give them an alternative. In this case, there was no alternative given and also there was no clarification within the department about the classification of the banned plastic. “So if they want to take the decision you call the stakeholders from the fraternity of hoteliers and restauranteurs because we know our problems but they do not,”
he said in this regard. “We have switched over to non-plastic materials but they have their own challenges,” he added.
“We hope to see more support from the government and participation of the stakeholders of the governments which are the associations to allocate the tourism industry within the budget more so for the development of the tourism and hospitality industry. After the elections we hope to see further impetus on this,” he concluded seeking increasing focus by the government on the tourism and hospitality industry.
FHRAI is an umbrella body which is committed to progress the hospitality industry by organising various educational and training programmes for the people working in the industry; whilst also looking into the legal affairs regarding the industry. The association has four regional chapters including the HRANI, HRAWI, SIHRA, and HRAEI.